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Spring 2015 Timeline Updates

March 24, 2015: This past winter, the Project has updated the timeline section of the website. Far from complete (will always be a work in progress) several new discoveries have been added. As well, several new sidebar menu items in the timeline section go into great depth on several topics. We are always on the lookout for new information related to St. Louis' LGBT past. Please help us out. We especially need founding dates for St. Louis area LGBT organizations. Here are some of our most recent additions:

1832

  • William Drummond Stewart, a member of the Scottish nobility, arrives in St. Louis to begin several years of travels to the far reaches of the unknown western frontier. According to the book "Men in Eden" by William Benemann, Stewart was gay. He would use St. Louis as a base for his "flamboyant" adventures.

1880

  • Charles Hamilton Hughes (1839-1916) begins to publish a St. Louis-based medical journal - The Alienist and Neurologist. The journal was published from 1880 until his death in 1916, making him the sole editor for all 37 volumes. The Journal would feature several groundbreaking reports on homosexuality.

1892

  • Lillie Rose Ernst is one of the first twelve women to graduate from Washington University. She began her life-long teaching career at Central High School the next year. She never married. It is clear that she was devoted to her female friendships. She was especially close to author Leonora Halsted who left a $20,000 estate to Ernst in "appreciation of her devoted care...and my abiding love." Further study needed.
  • On February 23, Dr. Charles Breedlove, a young dentist, commits suicide at Hurst's Hotel. The story makes national headlines due to his infatuation with his "friend" Issac Judson. Upon his death, Dr. Breedlove was wearing a charm around his neck featuring a picture of Judson.

1904

  • The Potters, a group of St. Louis women artists and writers begin to publish a monthly magazine called The Potter's Wheel from 1904-1907. The Potter's Wheel contained a variety of artistic output, including poetry and prose, photographs, calligraphy artwork, needlework and the like. The Potters were all young women in their late teens and early twenties and members included poet Sara Teasdale, artists Caroline Risque and Petronelle Sombart, photographers Grace and Williamina Parrish, and writers Vine Colby, Inez Dutro, Celia Harris, Edna Wahlert and Guida Richey. Their mentor, Lillie Rose Ernst, was a botany teacher at Central High School and later an administrator with the St. Louis Public School System. The Potters went their various way after 1907, some of them to marry, others for further study or to actively pursue careers in distant places. It is suspected that Ernst and other members may have been lesbian or bisexual. Further study needed. 

1905

  • Anheuser-Busch uses a "modern” interpretation of the Greek myth of Ganymede in an advertisement. It shows Ganymede instead of introducing mead, as the legend goes, to the gods, instead introducing them to Budweiser. The ad was published in Theater Magazine. Further study needed to determine the possible gay strategy employed.

1917

  • Lester Callaway Hunt, Sr. graduates from Saint Louis University Dental School. He was a Democratic politician and dentist from the state of Wyoming. He served as the 19th Governor of Wyoming from January 4, 1943 to January 3, 1949 and as United States Senator from January 3, 1949 until his death on June 19, 1954. The 1953 arrest of his gay son, resulted in political scandal and his ultimate suicide. Allen Drury used Hunt's blackmail and suicide as the basis for his 1959 best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Advise and Consent. In the novel, Senator Fred Van Ackerman from Wyoming uses a homosexual affair to blackmail Utah Senator Brigham Anderson. In 1962, the novel was made into a movie starring Henry Fonda and directed by Otto Preminger.

1936

  • Missouri native Helen Stephens garners two Olympic gold medals in Germany. At the 1936 Olympics it was suggested that Stephens (then a closeted lesbian) and her 100 metres rival Stanisława Walasiewicz of Poland, who had both X0 and XY chromosomes, were in fact male. The Olympic Committee performed a physical check on Stephens and concluded that she was a woman. Stephens had a long career with St. Louis' Defense Mapping Agency.

1938

  • Rupert Allan graduates from Washington University. He become a journalist and publicist for celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe.
  • Dr. Jeanne Hoff is born. A psychiatrist trained at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, she worked with the Harry Benjamin Practice, and later opened her own private practice in transgender care. Dr. Hoff herself went through sexual reassignment surgery in the late 1970's.

1943

  • William Inge begins his career as a drama critic at the St. Louis Star-Times. With Tennessee Williams's encouragement, Inge wrote his first play, Farther Off from Heaven (1947), which was staged at Margo Jones' Theatre '47 in Dallas, Texas. While a teacher at Washington University in St. Louis in 1946–1949, he wrote Come Back, Little Sheba. It ran on Broadway for 190 performances in 1950, winning Tony Awards for Shirley Booth and Sidney Blackmer. He and Williams reportedly had an affair. Inge committed suicide in 1973.

1954

  • An effort to revoke the liquor license of Entre Nous (George Riester Jr, owner) fails.

1955

  • Transgender activist and entertainer Christine Jorgenson peforms in St. Louis.

1965

  • Ethel Sawyer graduates from Washington University. Conducts academic research in area lesbian bars entitled "A Study of a Public Lesbian Community." The unpublished thesis is widely cited in LGBT academic circles.

Copyright Steven L. Brawley, 2007-2015. All Rights Reserved.